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Learning Math Home
Session 9: Solutions
Session 9 Part A Part B Part C Homework
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Session 9 Materials:

A B C 


Solutions for Session 9, Part C

See solutions for Problems: C1 | C2 | C3 | C4 | C5 | C6 | C7

Problem C1


A square cross section can be created by slicing the cube by a plane parallel to one of its sides.


An equilateral triangle cross section can be obtained by cutting the cube by a plane defined by the midpoints of the three edges emanating from any one vertex.


One way to obtain a rectangle that is not a square is by cutting the cube with a plane perpendicular to one of its faces (but not perpendicular to the edges of that face), and parallel to the four, in this case, vertical edges.


Pick a vertex, let's say A, and consider the three edges meeting at the vertex. Construct a plane that contains a point near a vertex (other than vertex A) on one of the three edges, a point in the middle of another one of the edges, and a third point that is neither in the middle nor coinciding with the first point. Slicing the cube with this plane creates a cross section that is a triangle, but not an equilateral triangle; it is a scalene triangle. Notice that if any two selected points are equidistant from the original vertex, the cross section would be an isosceles triangle.


To get a pentagon, slice with a plane going through five of the six faces of the cube.


To get a hexagon, slice with a plane going through all six faces of the cube.


It is not possible to create an octagonal cross section of a cube.


To create a non-rectangular parallelogram, slice with a plane from the top face to the bottom. The slice cannot be parallel to any side of the top face, and the slice must not be vertical. This allows the cut to form no 90° angles. One example is to cut through the top face at a corner and a midpoint of a non-adjacent side, and cut to a different corner and midpoint in the bottom face.


It is not possible to create a circular cross section of a cube.

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Problem C2

Whenever we cut the cube with a plane, each edge of the cross section corresponds to an intersection of one of the cube's faces with the plane. Since the cube has only six faces, it is impossible to cut it with one plane and create an octagonal cross section. Also, since the cube has no curved faces, a plane will not be able to intersect a cube and create a cross section with a curved segment in its perimeter.

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Problem C3

One way to create a square cross section in a tetrahedron is to cut at the midpoints of four edges.

Alternatively, you can start with a net for the tetrahedron such as:

We then connect the midpoints of the sides with segments of equal length: EF, FG, GH, and HE.

When we fold the net into a tetrahedron, the points E, F, G, and H are on the same plane, and they define a square cross section when that plane cuts the tetrahedron.

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Problem C4


Any cross section of a sphere will be a circle.


Possible cross sections are circles (cut parallel to the base), rectangles, and ellipses.


Possible cross sections are circles (cut parallel to the circular base), ellipses (cut at an angle, not parallel to the circular base and not intersecting the base of the cone), parabolas (cut parallel to the edge of the cone, not intersecting the vertex but intersecting the base), and hyperbolas (cut perpendicular to the base, but not intersecting the vertex).

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Problem C5

A right square cylinder, i.e., a cylinder whose height equals the diameter of its base.

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Problem C6

A right circular cone.

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Problem C7

It's a solid that looks like a "triangular" filter for a coffee maker, or the head (not handle) of a flathead screwdriver.

<< back to Problem C7


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